1. Surgery is not a cure.
No matter what you may think you heard your doctor tell you, following surgery, your foot will never be exactly like it was before your problem started. The goal of your surgery is to have improvement, but realize that there will be a new normal. Surgery is not a cure, so reset your expectations accordingly.
2. Non-surgical measures should be exhausted before elective surgery.
This may seem obvious to some, but know that all reasonable and conservative options should be pursued before you decide surgery is right for you. In the majority of situations, delaying your elective surgery will not make a difference in the type of surgery performed, or alter the outcome of that surgery.
Of course there are exceptions.
Ask your doctor how delaying suggested surgery would affect the care of your foot: if your doctor says you are the exception to this rule, then you have more support and information to help your decision-making. If not, you know that you may be able to improve your condition past the point of needing any surgery.
3. The truth about swelling post-surgery.
Maybe you heard the doctor mention that there will be “some swelling” post-surgery.
The reality? Swelling can continue for months even if you end up with the best possible outcome. There’s even the possibility you will never wear the same shoes that you wore prior to surgery, regardless of the type of foot surgery.
4. Foot surgery is painful.
Foot surgery is actually one of the most painful surgeries to have. After all, it’s hard to “carry” your own feet. Think of it this way: the incision you have on the outside of your foot is only the “tip of the iceberg.” As large as that cut is on the outside, the work done on the inside is much larger.
5. Recovery is not quick or easy.
Not only can complications arise with foot surgery (infection, recurrence, worsening of your original problem, or others), realize that it will take months to fully recuperate. “It’s quite possible that recovery could take 18 months to 24 months from the date of your surgery,” says Dr. James Amis, an Orthopaedic Surgeon with more than 25 years of experience, and the inventor of the One Stretch. “Keep in mind how you walk on your feet, so don’t expect to recover quickly. Be patient.”
6. You shouldn’t compare foot surgery to other surgeries.
No matter the other kinds of surgeries you may have had in the past, even if recovery was quick for those, it is not a good idea to try to compare other kinds of surgeries to foot surgery. “In many cases, I see patients who expect foot surgery to be easy, but that is just not true.” Recovery for foot surgery is different for each person, and it’s most likely different than any past surgeries you have undergone.
7. Get a second (or third) opinion.
You are the kind of patient that trusts your doctor, but wants to be educated and informed in your decision-making. Then don’t be afraid to bring a list of questions or see another doctor to see their recommended treatment. At the very least, you will feel more confident in making the best decision possible for your health and quality of life. And don’t be concerned what your surgeon might think: it’s your foot! If your doctor is upset that you are getting another opinion, maybe it’s time to make a change.